to the participants in the tenth colloquium
May 14 - 16, 1976, in Chicago

Thoughtful men exchange greetings by posing questions to one another. The question with which I send my greetings to you is that single question which I have persistently tried to ask in a more questioning manner. It is known as "the question of Being."

We can first ask this question only by way of a discussion of Occidental-European metaphysics, specifically, in reference to the forgottenness of Being that has prevailed therein from the beginning. In metaphysical questioning about the Being of beings, Being conceals itself as regards what is proper to it and as regards its place.

This self-concealing of Being is different in the various particular epochs (cf. Holzwege, "Der Spruch des Anaximander," p. 296 ff.).

In the age of a world civilization stamped by technology, forgottenness of Being is oppressive in a special way for the asking of the question of Being. From the many questions that are necessary in this regard, the following may be mentioned:

Is modern natural science the foundation of modern technology — as is supposed — or is it, for its part, already the basic form of technological thinking, the determining fore conception and incessant incursion of technological representation into the realized and organized machinations of modern technology?

The rapidly increasing efficiency of these drives the forgottenness of Being to the extreme and thus makes the question of Being appear irrelevant and superfluous.

During the few days of the colloquium you will not be able to answer, nor probably even to pose adequately, this question of the relation of modern natural science to modern technology.

But it would be sufficient and beneficial if each participant would devote his attention to this question in his own way and take it up as an intimation for his own field.

In this way the question of Being could become more compelling and could be experienced as what it in truth is:

To think properly the legacy which derives from the beginning of the history of Being and which remained necessarily unthought in and for that beginning — Ἀλήθεια as such — and thereby to prepare the possibility of a transformed abode of man in the world.

Martin Heidegger

Freiburg i. Br.

April 11, 1976